Making holiday appetizers, treats, & cocktails work for you

Posted on December 21, 2009


As the holiday season crescendos & sputters out in the next two weeks, you’ve either been stuffing your face with cookies, cakes & eggnog – not caring what happens to your waistline, your health, or your blood sugar – or you’ve been scrambling to figure out how many workouts you need to do to hang in there with your fitness & weight goals.

It would be my hope that you’ve enjoyed a few pieces of home-made toffee (as I have) or perhaps a few more glasses of wine than usual as part of the holiday spirit AND have maintained your workouts, perhaps putting a little more dedication & intensity into the workouts you’re getting so that you are certain you burn quality fat calories.

So many people feel they need to either say “bah humbug” to their fitness & nutrition routine until Jan 1 of the New Year, or need to experience absolutely none of the joys that the holiday, family get-togethers & friend reunions can bring. Which is unfortunate, because the real joy comes in knowing you’re enjoying the once-a-year-candies, wine with long-lost friends & fairly impressive spreads of food that stretch beyond Mon night baked chicken & salad.

Feel free to indulge this last two weeks of the holiday season, but do yourself a favor and indulge only in sweets, treats & drinks that give a little something back to your body, like red wine for its’ small heart healthy properties, or at the very least, enjoy things that are real, made from real ingredients – not fake gross stuff like Low-fat Whipped Topping that is made of veggie oil, corn oil & preservatives.

‘Wait, it’s ok to choose home-made cakes & cookies? It’s not that bad to have extra alcohol on a few occasions?’

No, it’s not that you’re able to ‘get away with it’ and not have harmful effects in your body from eating sweets or drinking alcohol – just like any other time of the year, you WILL have negative effects in your body when you metabolize sugar, fat, alcohol or any inflammatory food or drink. What I’m telling you is that you are MUCH BETTER OFF choosing REAL treats in small quantities rather than “low-sugar-low-fat-preservative-filled treats.”

Read this to see what has now been proven but we’ve believed all along…that fructose i.e. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is far more dangerous to our bodies than real sugar. Then pick a few of these tips to help you navigate your waistline through the end of the holiday season!

  • Eat real food instead of fake-food, fake-sugar, fake-fat substitutes. Your body has puzzle pieces that are looking for the matching puzzle piece in the food you consume. Bringing in a puzzle piece like HFCS means your body, which DOES NOT have a puzzle piece for HFCS, must waste energy trying to do something with those foreign puzzle pieces. This creates inflammation – you don’t want increased inflammation so eat real food!
    • Instead of Low-fat whipped tipping in a tub or can, make your own by taking heavy cream, a little vanilla, & a little powdered sugar & whip it into soft peaks. Ta da! Homemade whipped topping that has no chemicals in it!
  • Instead of hanging out at the appetizer bar eating chips made of corn oil, bring candied nuts as a tasty app full of healthy fat & protein.
    • I use this site to find & modify Gluten Free recipes. Recently, she posted a quick & easy candied nut recipe. Go here to get it, then head to the natural foods store to get your agave nectar & get cooking!
  • Champagne is far & away the lowest calorie option for those who choose to imbibe, at 118 calories per 6 oz. serving.
    • Champagne not being served? Red or white wine are your next best choice.
  • Microwaveable veggies in a bag that are pre-sauced or pre-seasoned are guaranteed to have high sodium, plenty of preservatives & chemicals & shockingly, as I found at recently at one health food store, full of gluten! Why would there be gluten in veggies?? No reason, just the company taking the easy way out.
    • Use my recipe, found here, for easy, healthy & tasty roasted veggies instead of the frozen version covered in chemical garbage. Cooks in 20-40 minutes & if you’re bringing the dish to the party, you can even stop short of the full cooking time at home & bring them to the house, finishing them in the party hosts’ oven. Or, if you want to cook the whole thing at the party, the host will thank you for adding to the scents of delicious food being prepared.

Managing your fitness & waistline during the holiday is easy if you choose it to be a priority. Making it a priority means having a plan, and planning ahead means having the ability to enjoy what you want & not have a guilty conscious about the size of the piece of Christmas cake you ate or the number of hours you hovered at the appetizer table. Implement a few of these tips in your plan & you & your waistline will come out on the other side of party season trim & fit!

Posted in: nutrition